Best Audiophile Music Streamers Under $1000! (2022)

While CDs and Vinyl still hold a special place in many an audiophile’s heart (including ours), wi-fi music streaming devices have become commonplace on the racks of hi-fi enthusiasts.

That’s because they offer flexibility and a range of music discovery not possible in the olden days. With a good streamer, combined with a music service like Tidal or Spotify, you can listen to just about any album in the blink of an eye.

While you could just stream music from a laptop, dedicated streamers allow you to avoid wear and tear on your computer, and they usually aren’t as noisy as most PCs. Streamers are generally easier to use and start up faster as well.

Streamers range from a simple, inexpensive dongle (think the dearly departed Google Chromecast Audio) that stream music from a phone or tablet, all the way to megabuck devices with built-in hard drives.

In this list, we concentrate on the more affordable portion of the market (under $1k). You can still expect to get excellent features like built-in digital to analog converters to decode hi-res audio streams and app-based control of music libraries, and multi-room streaming. You’ll also see inputs to bring in more music from external devices like hard drives, plus Bluetooth for quick streaming sessions.

Here at Hifitrends.com, we have over 25 years of experience in evaluating and building hi-fi systems to help you find the best gear on the market.

Here are our picks for the Best Audiophile Music Streamers Under $1000! (2022)

To learn more about Audiophile Music Streamers, check out our Buyers Guide!


Try Hi-Res Music Streaming today! Download the Qobuz free trial!

Here’s our shortlist of the Best Audiophile Music Streamers Under $1000! (2022)


Have a question about building an affordable hi-fi system? Drop us a line at info@hifitrends.com! We may feature your question on the site!


The List:

Best For Those On A Budget: Andover Audio Songbird Internet Music Streamer ($149.00)

Specs/Features:

  • Analog 3.5mm stereo input
  • Toslink optical digital input
  • Ethernet port
  • Analog 3.5mm stereo out
  • Optical digital out
  • Songbird Control app (LinkPlay)
  • Bluetooth, DLNA & Apple AirPlay
  • Amazon, Spotify, Qobuz, TIDAL

What we love:

  • Breathtaking Natural Sound
  • Easy to Use
  • Access to lots of music

What to think about:

  • No Gapless Playback
  • Hi-Res Audio From Digital Out Resampled to 16/44
  • Control app is pretty basic

The $149 Songbird Music Streamer was initially marketed as a source for the excellent SpinBase turntable speaker, but it’s actually a great budget Wi-Fi streamer for anyone who wants to bring high-quality network audio to their hi-fi system.

This compact, affordable device has both digital and analog outputs to connect any component, plus it streams all the major music services (TIDAL, Qobuz, Spotify). It also streams files from a network drive (DLNA), Apple Airplay, or Bluetooth. It also sounds fantastic. If you temper your expectations in light of the very reasonable price point, I think you will find the Andover Audio Songbird is an excellent value.

For: Someone looking for their first music streamer or those who don’t want to spend a ton of money on one.

Full Review

Buy: Amazon or Crutchfield, or Andover Audio


Best Simple Streamer Without DAC: iFi Zen Stream Network Audio Transport ($399.00)

Specs/Features:

  • S/PDIF coaxial digital output
  • USB Type-A input
  • USB Type-A output
  • Ethernet port
  • USB-C port for upgrades only
  • TIDAL, Spotify, Qobuz, YouTube Music
  • Apple AirPlay and DLNA
  • Uses Stream-iFi app

What we love:

  • Access To Tons of Sources
  • Remarkable Detailed Sound
  • Excellent Value

What to think about:

  • No digital optical out
  • App is basic
  • Changing settings is not intuitive

If you already have a nice DAC and you want a high-quality, no-fuss digital “transport” to stream music into it, then the $399 iFi ZEN Stream is a no-brainer. A plethora of digital outputs ensures you will have no issues integrating it into your system. It also gives you a gazillion ways to get music into your hi-fi, including Spotify & TIDAL connect, DLNA, and Roon, but most importantly, it sounds excellent.

For: Those who have a nice DAC and just want a transport to send a clean digital music signal to it.

Full Review

Buy: Amazon or Crutchfield


Best Full-Featured Streamer: Bluesound NODE Wireless Multi-Room Hi-Res Music Streamer Gen 3 ($599.00)

Specs/Features:

  • HDMI eARC input
  • 3.5mm combination analog stereo/mini optical digital input
  • Analog RCA stereo audio output
  • Toslink optical and coaxial digital outputs
  • Ethernet port
  • 3.5mm analog input
  • RCA mono sub output
  • Spotify, Deezer, TIDAL, Qobuz, and Amazon Music HD
  • Two-Way Bluetooth aptX HD and Apple AirPlay 2
  • BluOS App

What we love:

  • Warm and Detailed Sound
  • Remarkable Mix Of Features
  • Sleek Design
  • BluOS App is one of the best control/multi-room apps available

What to think about:

  • Sound lacks just a little depth and separation

The $599 Bluesound NODE Wireless Music Streamer has probably been the best overall value in affordable streamers for some time now, and that doesn’t seem to have changed with the introduction of the 3rd gen model.

While it could use just a touch more transparency, there’s still no streamer in its price range that has its mix of quality sound and the remarkable range of functionality that it offers. This streamer does it all. Once you factor in the new upgrades, which make it faster, more detailed, and easier to use than the previous generation, it’s hard not to recommend it as a top option for streamers under $1000.

For: Those who want an inexpensive streamer that has everything but the kitchen sink.

Full Review

Buy: Amazon or Crutchfield


Best Sounding Streamer With Built-In DAC: Audiolab 6000N Play Wi-Fi Audio Streaming Player ($699.99)

Specs/Features:

  • Analog stereo RCA output
  • Optical digital output
  • Coaxial digital output
  • RJ-45 Ethernet port
  • Type-A USB port (for updates)
  • 12-volt trigger in and out
  • DLNA
  • Spotify, TIDAL, Deezer, Qobuz, Amazon Music

What we love:

  • Bulletproof Build Quality
  • Clear and Tonally Balanced
  • Easy To Use
  • The New DTS Play-Fi App is Excellent

What to think about:

  • No Inputs
  • No Roon Support
  • No Bluetooth/AirPlay

Sound quality is primarily why we named the $599 Audiolab 6000N Play Wi-Fi Audio Streaming Player Product Of the Year a couple of years back. Over the years, we have swapped it in and out of numerous rigs, and it always plays the anchor role with finesse. The built-in ES9018 Sabre32 32-bit/192kHz digital-to-analog converter provides a remarkably transparent sound.

Add to that the backbone of DTS Play-Fi as a streaming/multi-room controller (which has become really good after the latest update), and you have a winner. All you need is a quality tablet with the Play-Fi app installed, and a whole world of music unfolds before you.

For: Those who want a streamer that puts sound above everything else.

Full Review

Buy: Amazon or Crutchfield


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